prev     -1-     -2-     -3-     -4-     -5-     -6-     next

Grand Prix Legends is an old racing sim in the true sense of the word. It's a simulator more than a game. Developed by Papyrus Design Group and published in 1998 by Sierra Entertainment, it simulates the 1967 Formula One season and is considered one of the most realistic racing games ever. It is definitely not an arcade experience as there's not a weapon or a power up in sight. This is definitely for the die hard racing sim fans.

So with all the years on offer, why would a game choose to simulate the 1967 season?

The romantics will sigh and tell you that 1967 was the last year before advertising in F1 and all manner of advertisements and logos were plastered all over Grand Prix cars, which until then had just been painted in pristine national liveries: British racing green for Britain obviously, red for Italy etc. They would also yell you that it is the last year before Grand Prix racing "went commercial" Where grand prix cars are now pretty much nothing more than mobile cigarette packets.

The realists will tell you that the true significance of 1967 was that it was the last year before "wings." Before things like "spoilers," "aerofoils," "air dams," wind tunnels," and other aerodynamic developments were added to the cars, so it is seen by many to be the last year that the driver was truly driving the car. Where the driver was doing more to hold the car on the road than the laws of physics were.

The 1967 season is widely viewed as a turning point in Formula One with championship competitors like Jim Clark, Dan Gurney , Jackie Stewart and Graham Hill. More importantly though, the cars of 1967 made driving them quickly a real challenge and that has definitely been carried over into the game.

Why wre the cars so difficult? Well, they were were much more powerful again after certain rule changes in 1966 when engines were allowed to be up to three litres. The formula which had immediately preceded it had limited engines to a measly 1.5 liters, and so the new three litre formula was widely heralded as Grand Prix racing's "Return to Power."

In truth, many of the sport's leading engine suppliers were caught out by the sudden doubling of engine displacement and by the first race of the 1967 season (the South African GP on January 2), many of the teams still didn't have their new engines ready and a local hero almost won the race in an ancient Cooper-Climax, and would have done had he not run out of fuel.

Like i said, aerodynamic wings had not been introduced yet so things like wind effects and huge fans underneath the car weren't thought of, the cars were still using regular treaded radial tyres that were not developed for racing, and these tyres would often not wear out during a race and they would be used for more than one. Something which would be unthinkable nowadays, so just getting the power down to the road was a challenge, and don't even think of mentioning traction control. That wouldn't be around for a long time to come.

The late 60s and early 70s were also before the days of safety measures and regulations that were really pushed for after jackie stewart's crash at Spa in Belgium when he found himself upside down in his BRM soaked in fuel and in somebody's cellar. The Spa circuit, like many others of the day was raced on real roads with houses right at the track side and people stood on grass verges watching the cars fly by. This was far from the only accident of note too, there was the high profile fiery crash of Lorenzo Bandini at the Monaco chicane in 1967 and then Jim Clark's death in 1968 at Hockenheim. Jim Clark was widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers at the time and still one of the best ever, and when he didn't reappear at the end of his lap people drove round the Hockenheim circuit looking for holes in the trees where he may have gone off the track. They eventually found him.In fact the 1969 race at Spa and the 1970 race at the Nurburgring in Germany didn't take place because the drivers boycotted them as safety upgrades were not installed as they had demanded.

prev     -1-     -2-     -3-     -4-     -5-     -6-     next

back to top

Enjoy my articles? Please leave me feedback